Holland Codes career tests

By 123test team. Updated June 4, 2024

Finding a career that fits your personality

When you are doing tasks you like, you enjoy your work. Holland Codes are a set of personality types developed by psychologist John L. Holland in the 1970s. Dr. Holland1 reasoned that people work best in work environments that match their preferences. People and work environments can be matched for a best fit. Most people are some combination of two or three of the Holland interest areas. These two or three areas become your "Holland Code".

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Match your interests with an occupation

There are things that you enjoy doing, whatever the industry or job title. The key to finding a satisfying career is to match your fundamental interests with occupations. For instance, a Social person would go crazy sitting alone in an office all day. Or if you are Artistic, you would probably hate having to conform to a set of strict rules in your job. That is why career and vocational tests can be so helpful.

Personality tests based on Holland Codes

Holland Codes are one of the most popular models used for career tests today. Holland argued that the choice of a vocation is an expression of personality. There are six personality types in Holland's model and most people will fit into a few of the categories:

  • Realistic: practical, physical, concrete, hands-on, machine, and tool-oriented
  • Investigative: analytical, intellectual, scientific, explorative, thinker
  • Artistic: creative, original, independent, chaotic, inventive, media, graphics, and text
  • Social: cooperative, supporting, helping, healing/nurturing, teaching
  • Enterprising: competitive environments, leadership, persuading, status
  • Conventional: detail-oriented, organizing, clerical

Holland code occupations - the heart of many career tests

What kinds of things do you like to do? Take our free career aptitude test and get more insight into your own work interests in just a few minutes.

Realistic type Holland code

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems, and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Investigative type Holland code

Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Artistic type Holland code

Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Social type Holland code

Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Enterprising type Holland code

Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking, and they often deal with business.

Conventional type Holland code

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. There is usually a clear line of authority to follow.

Creating your Holland Code

An easy way to remember the Holland Codes is RIASEC, the first letter of each type. Dr. Holland did not say that a person is just one of these types. Then there would be only six types of people in the world. Instead, any one person can have interests associated with all of the six types. When you rank the types, starting with those you have the most interest in to those you have the least interest in, you get your specific Holland Code.

There are some 720 different combinations possible, like ISERAC, AIRSEC, or CSERIA. Generally, however, only two or three letters are necessary to create a useful description, such as SC, IRC, or AIC. Such a description may apply to both a person and a work environment. By typifying both people and work environments with Holland Codes, we can calculate matches between them. This helps you assess a potential career or vocational choice.

Holland's theory also states that any two letters in the code have a stronger link when they are next to each other in a hexagon formed by the word RIASEC. So, Realistic people and work environments are more closely linked to Investigative and Conventional people and environments than to Social people and environments. One difference between Realistic and Social is working with machines or with people. Conventional is more like Realistic and Enterprising than like Artistic and so on.

Read more details in the next article or take a career test based on the Holland Codes now.


  • 1Holland, John L. Making vocational choices: A theory of careers. Prentice Hall, 1973.